Gérard de Nerval et le Temps dans Sylvie

In Gérard de Nerval's Sylvie, time acts as the organizing principle, both in the thematic expression and the structural order of the narrative. The two major categories in the thematic conception of time are its negation and exaltation. The first focuses on the theme of rupture – time arrested and a struggle against the destructive force of time. The second deals with continuity, circularity, co-existence of present and past both experienced and mythical. Despite an apparent confusion between past and present, a definite structural unity is seen in "l'ordre temporel" of the narrative. The ties linking the prinicpal and retrospective narratives are clearly determined. The process of memory recall evokes a series of past images and events that are repeatedly recounted and subjectively interpreted by the narrator from different perspectives in time. There are also variations in "la durée" or tempo of the narration itself in which the time sequence is at times condensed, suspended or accelerated. Nerval integrates the theme of renewal and continuity with the use of time in the structural order to recreate his own distinctive experience of the past in the present. (In French) (ESF)

Fine, Ellen.
Volume 1974 Spring-Summer; 2(3-4): 128-41.